Wednesday 30 November 2011

Imaging in Cerebral Stroke

Cerebral Stroke is classified into two major types - Hemorrhagic and Ischemic.

Hemorrhagic strokes:
Occur due to rupture of a cerebral blood vessel that causes bleeding into or around the brain.
Account for ~ 16% of all strokes.
Further divided into Two major categories, one is Intracerebral hemorrhage is the most common.
Second is Subarachnoid hemorrhage, due to rupture of a cerebral aneurysm.

Ischemic strokes:
Caused by blockage of blood flow in a major cerebral blood vessel due to a blood clot.
Account for ~ 84% of all strokes.
Further divided depending up on their etiology into several different categories including thrombotic strokes, embolic strokes, lacunar strokes and hypoperfusion infarctions.

Both may mimic each other clinically.
Role of imaging is diagnosis as early as possible with as much as close to the etiology.
First of all it is important to mention that these group of pts are highly non co operative so every imaging step should be short and aim oriented. Modifications in imaging protocol and sequences to be done as per the case, most important factors are time with sensitivity n specificity of particular modality or a sequence for that particular condition.

CT is the preferred initial choice.
Non contrast routine CT is sufficient to rule out bleed which is an absolute contraindication for thrombolytic therapy used in ischemic strokes.
A hypertensive bleed is typical for site with history of hypertension / on admission high blood pressure.
If bleed is in non hypertensive or atypical, look for any associated abnormality as a cause of bleed which may require MRI with aim oriented sequences like MRI Brain Angio protocol (Diffusion, FLAIR with non contrast 3D TOF for brain Angio and 2D TOF for neck Angio) to look for any Aneurysm, AVM or MRI Veno protocol (Diffusion, FLAIR, T2*GRE with non contrast 2D TOF for brain venogram) for venous infarct.
Causes of non hypertensive hemorrhagic stroke include hemorrhagic venous infarct, Amyloid angiopathy, Vascular malformation, Coagulopathy, Hemorrhage into a tumor, Drug abuse, etc.

If there is no bleed on CT, go for MR Angio protocol to rule out acute ischemic stroke that was not obvious on CT.

CT Non Contrast
MR Angio protocol - Diffusion, FLAIR, NC 3D TOF for Brain Angio and 2D TOF for Neck Angio. 
MR Veno protocol - Diffusion, FLAIR, T2*GRE, NC 2D TOF for Brain veno. 

What should raise the suspicion for atypical bleed and encourage for further evaluation ?
  1. Non hypertensive pt.
  2. Previous clinical and treatment details.
  3. Discrepancy in imaging wise age of hematoma and as per history.
  4. Site atypical for bleed.
  5. Age atypical for bleed.
  6. Resolution pattern of hematoma, fluid - fluid level.
  7. Perilesional odema disportionate to amount bleed.
  8. Any soft tissue density in or adjacent to hematoma.
  9. Any vascular malformation in or adjacent to hematoma.

Imaging in Acute Ischemic Stroke


Imaging protocols vary among institutions, depending up on the availability of imaging modalities, cost effectiveness and expertise.
In India at least, availability of imaging modality and affordability of patient are the major issue.
And as far as stroke patients are concerned, time is the most important issue.
So the to cut short the time required for imaging without compromising the accuracy of diagnosis the protocol we follow in our institution we believe that is simple, less time consuming and applicable to most institutions.

Role of CT
1. To Rule out bleed: Non contrast CT is sufficient to rule out most important infarct mimic that is bleed which is an absolute contraindication for thrombolytic therapy.
2. Can detect early stage acute ischemia : by depicting features such as the
1) Hyper dense vessel sign,
2) Insular ribbon sign and
3) Reduced parenchymal attenuation with effacement of cortical sulci.

Once bleed is ruled on CT.
MRI is to confirm an infarct with better evaluation.

MRI  1.5 tesla GE Signa Excite; basic sequences performed are Ax FLAIR, Diffusion, T2*GRE followed by MR Angiography Brain and NECK.

Role of Diffusion:
Most sensitive and relatively specific.
Based on principle of restriction of normal Brownian motion of water molecules in infarcted tissue.
Infarct seen as an abnormal white area and described as an area of restricted diffusion.

Role of FLAIR:
Sensitivity to pick an infarct is arbitrarily comparable to CT.
If an infarct seen on  diffusion and not seen FLAIR called FLAIR / Diffusion Mismatch indicate hyper acute infarct - reversible  ischemic changes and salvageable tissue or  tissue at risk.
If changes are marked on FLAIR indicate already infracted and non salvageable tissue.

Role of T2* GRE:
Sensitive for bleed.
Used to demonstrate hemorrhage or hemorrhagic transformation in the region of infarct as an alternative to CT.
Area of bleed appear dark due to paramagenetic effect of blood degradation products.

MR Angiography of brain and neck: 
To demonstrate any major vessel stenosis or occlusion.
No contrast required.
Accuracy acceptable.  

Case: A 55 yo male, known hypertensive, present with acute onset left side weakness of 5hrs. Clinically there are two possibilities in this case one is hypertensive bleed and second is infarct. On admission CT done first to rule out bleed.
Important findings:
1. No bleed.
2. Faint low attenuation involving right insular cortex and adjacent basal ganglia - 'insular ribbon' sign. Effacement of right hemispheric cortical sulci. 
Immediate MRI Brain with MR Angio performed to confirm infarct and better evaluation.


MRI Diffusion show an area abnormal restricted diffusion involving right peri sylvian cereberal cortex, adjacent insular cortex and right basal ganglion suggestive of an infarct. Area of involvement corresponds to right MCA proximal main stem territory. Changes are not marked on FLAIR, except a faint hyper intensity is seen implies to Diffusion - FLAIR mismatch goes in favor of a hyper acute to acute infarct. No marked focal cytotoxic odema to cause significant mass effect.
On MR Angiogram right ICA not visualised from its origin and so the right MCA implies to occlusion. Right ACA filled via contra lateral anterior circulation via Acom. T2*GRE omitted in this case as bleed or hemorrhagic transformation is not excepted and we already have done CT for this, this is how u can do minor modifications in protocol and cut short the number of sequences. 

Monday 28 November 2011

Imaging in Sub Arachnoid H'rhage

SAH, An extravasation of blood into the subarachnoid space between pia and arachnoid.

Divided as Spontaneous and Post traumatic. 
Spontaneous SAH include Aneurysmal and Non-aneurysmal causes SAH. 
- Aneurysmal SAH 
The most common cause of Spontaneous SAH.
Rupture of a saccular (berry) aneurysm (80%)
Rupture of an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) (10%).
Rarely in the setting of mycotic aneurysms and congenital disorders, including coarctation of the aorta, Marfan's syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, fibromuscular dysplasia and polycystic kidney disease.
- Non Aneurysmal SAH: include CVT, amyloid angiopathy, blood dyscrasias, fibromuscular dysplasia, Moyamoya disease, and vasculitis (10%).

Rupture is related to the tension on the aneurysm wall. Tension on the wall is proportional to the diameter. Thus, the rate of rupture is directly related to the size of the aneurysm.

Symptoms and signs:
A sudden onset of severe headache ("thunderclap headache"), often described as the “worst headache of my life" .... most common.
Nuchal pain and rigidity
A sudden loss of consciousness (occurs in half of patients at bleeding onset; it is usually transient)

The most common and specific locations of intracranial aneurysms are at the middle cerebral artery bifurcation and along the anterior communicating artery. These 2 locations account for approximately 70% of all intracranial aneurysms.
Other common sites are at the origins of the posterior communicating and ophthalmic arteries.
Approximately 10-20% of aneurysms arise from the vertebral and basilar arteries. The tip of the basilar artery is the most common location of aneurysm formation in the posterior circulation.

Preferred examinations:
Non contrast CT
MRI with MRA (Non contrast 3 D TOF)

Non contrast CT
A preferred initial diagnostic study.
On CT, subarachnoid haemorrhage appears as a high-attenuating, amorphous substance that fills the normally dark, CSF-filled subarachnoid spaces around the brain, appear white in acute haemorrhage, most evident in the largest subarachnoid spaces, such as the supra sellar cistern and Sylvian fissures.
Prediction of site of bleed on CT, is possible. If bleed is marked in anterior inter hemispheric fissure, an Acom aneurysm is possible and if marked only in one side sylvian fissure corresponding MCA aneurysm is possible.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Fluid Attenuated Inversion Recovery (FLAIR) is the most sensitive sequence.
On FLAIR images, SAH appears as high signal-intensity (white) in normally low signal-intensity (black) CSF spaces.
MRA for evaluating aneurysms and other vascular lesions that cause SAH. The  sensitivity is low for aneurysms smaller than 5 mm.

DSA (Digital Substraction Angiography)
Considered the standard imaging technique for the detection of intracranial aneurysms.
Detected as focal areas of out pouching or dilatation of the arterial wall, frequently occur at arterial branching points in characteristic locations within or near the circle of Willis.
Gives valuable information about aneurysm location, shape, neck size, and neck-to-maximal diameter ratio  which are crucial in determining whether the aneurysm is better treated with open craniotomy or with an endovascular technique.

Sentinel bleed
Sentinel or "warning" leaks that produce minor blood leakage, reported to occur in 30-50% of cases, precedes the aneurysm rupture and major episode of SAH by a few hours to a few months, so should not be overlooked. MRI FLAIR is the best sequence. Lumbar puncture is confirmatory.

Complications of Subarachnoid Haemorrhage
Hydrocephalus, Communicating and Non-Communicating Hydrocephalus.

Communicating Hydrocephalus
SAH with dilatation of the anterior and temporal horns, as well as the third and fourth ventricles. Flow is most likely blocked at the arachnoid granulations resulting in communicating hydrocephalus. 
Requires emergency ventricular shunting.

Non-Communicating Hydrocephalus
Non-communicating (obstructive) hydrocephalus occurs when the ventricular system is not in continuity with the subarachnoid space due to blood clots. Most often, the site of the blockage in non-communicating hydrocephalus is at the cerebral aqueduct, but rarely can occur at the foramen of Monro, the third ventricle, or the outlet of the fourth ventricle.
Important to recognize as it is potentially treatable by shunting.

Vasospasm following Subarachnoid Hemorrhage. 
A known delayed complication of subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Reported to occur in as many as 70% of patients with SAH.
Most commonly occurs 4-14 days after the onset of bleeding.
If severe enough, may lead to progressive ischemia and stroke.
Imp to recognize as typically treated with the calcium channel blocker nimodipine, volume expansion, mild elevation of blood pressure.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Unilateral hydrocephalus

A 5 yo male with delayed mile stones.

CT brain shows:
Marked dilatation of right lateral ventricle.
Left lateral ventricle, third ventricle, and fourth ventricles are normal in size.
There is no peri ventricular ooze of csf.
Adjacent brain parenchyma show normal attenuation. There is no adjacent parenchymal Gliosis.

Imging diagnosis: Unilateral hydrocephalus.

The left foramen of Monro points in the direction of the third ventricle and and incontinuity with third ventricle consistent with normal, unobstructed flow of CSF. Right foramen of Monro ending abruptly, show marked blunting, not pointing towards the third ventricle so the site of obstruction appears to be foramen of Monro and cause appears to be congenital. No obvious adjacent space occupying lesion.

Unilateral hydrocephalus (UH) is an uncommon type of hydrocephalus, often congenital.
In congenital hydrocephalus, vast majority of cases are bilateral, symmetric hydrocephalus with high rate of association with CNS and extra-CNS anomalies and a mortality rate up to 85%.
In contrast, unilateral hydrocephalus is less frequently associated with other anomalies, and if no other anomalies are present, the survival rate is 70%.
UL first described by Von Mohr (1842), usually due to obstruction at FM.
In congenital, cause is atretic, stenotic FM or occluded by a membrane. Can be seen in conjunction with corpus callosal anomalies.
In Acquired, etiologies for obstruction at FM include thalamic and intraventricular neoplasm, colloid cysts, tuberculoma, post tb ependymal adhesions, ventriculitis, vascular malformations, and non-specific inflammatory conditions.

Related Posts:

Medulloblastoma MR Spectroscopy

An 14 yo male with persistent headache, nausea and vomiting.

A well circumscribed ovoid intra ventricular space occupying mass completely occupying and expanding fourth ventricle, leading to obstructive hydrocephalus.
Signals of mass corresponds to dense soft tissue, isointense to cortical grey matter on T1 and Flair, slightly hyperintense on T2.
No cystic component or marked areas of necrosis.
Restricted diffusion on Dw images.
Lobulated mild enhancement on post contrast T1.
On single voxel MR Spectroscopy at short TE of 35 ms, no peak of NAA at 2.01ppm, no peak of creatine at 3.02 with peak of raised choline at 3.2ppm.

Imaging and MR Spectrocsopy findings are very typical for a Medulloblastoma.

Diagnostic clues:
Dense 4th ventricular mass,
Hyper dense (~90%) on CT with spotty calcification (~20%) ,
Nearly isointense to cortical grey matter on MRI with restricted diffusion on Dw images.
Markedly reduced or no peak of NAA with high choline on MRS implies to non neuronal / Non Glial neoplasm.
May see drop metastasis.
Age group ~75% < 10 years; M > F.

Similar posts:
Medulloblastoma with drop metastasis
Lateral origin medullobastoma


Syn: MB, Posterior fossa PNET, PNET – MB,
A highly cellular embryonal cell tumor.
Age group : common in children, ~75% diagnosed by 10 years.
3 times more common in males.

Intraventricular – 4th ventricular roof is a typical and most common location. A most common posterior fossa tumour in children.
Lateral origin – Cerebellar hemisphere is an atypical location common in older children and adults.

Size vary, average size ranges between 3- 5cm at the time of presentation.
On Non contrast CT, solid 4th ventricle mass, hyperdense, calcifcaiton seen in ~20% cases, small intra tumoural cysts, necrosis in ~50% cases.
On MR signal on T1 iso - hypo intense to cortical grey matter on T1 , iso – hyperintense on T2w and FLAIR. High signal on diffusion attributed to its dense, highly cellular nature.
An associated Obstructive hydrocephalus is common seen in ~ 95% cases.
Usually mild to moderate and homogenous enhancement, may show patchy heterogeneous enhancement due to areas of necrosis.
On MR Spectroscopy, NAA reduced or absent as it’s a non neuronal tumour, raised choline.

Saturday 26 November 2011

Post TBM Vasculitis induced infarcts

A 40 y o male, known case of Tubercular Meningitis as per previous discharge summery and lab report containing Csf profile and IGg levels. 
Now re admission with left sided recent onset weakness and altered sensorium.

On Admission;
CT Brain Plain + Contrast

MRI Brain Axial FLAIR, Diffusion and 3 D TOF Non contrast MR Angio Brain

CT Brain shows effacement of cortical sulci in right peri sylvian region with sulcal hyperdensity.
Multiple non enhancing punctate hypodensities involving right insular cortex and adjacent right parietal cortex.
MRI Brain Axial FLAIR and Diffusion show:
Multiple T2 hyper intensities involving right peri sylvian cerebral cortex and adjacent insular cortex with restricted diffusion.
MR Angiogram shows:
Right MCA distal main stem stenosis, marked sparsity of its cortical branches.

Impression : Vasculitis and vasculitis induced infarcts in a known case of tubercular meningitis.

"IVY" sign : Axial Flair image no 1 show a serpigenous hyperintensity in right temporal cortical sulcus represent a cortical branch of right MCA with abnormal sluggish flow - IVY sign, reported in Moya Moya disease and Vasculopathies.
Similar posts for IVY sign:
IVY sign in early infarction
IVY sign Moya Moya disease

Thursday 24 November 2011

Diffuse low marrow signal on T1

An 18 y o male, MRI cervical spine c/o of neck pain.
No radiculopathy.
No neurological signs.

Previous 2 year old lab reports mentions, macrocytes with anisocytosis and poikilocytosis. Low RBS count and Hb.
Increased MCV ( mean corpuscular volume) and MCH ( mean corpuscular hemoglobin).
Normal MCHC (mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration- 34 g/dL).
Low reticulocyte count.
Platelet count Normal.
Senile neutrophils.
Lab findings are suggestive of megaloblastic anemia.

MRI Cervical spine Sag T1 and T2w images
This MRI cervical spine show diffuse low marrow signal, iso intense to skeletal muscle. 
Signal abnormality is diffuse and homogenous. 
Vertebral bodies as well as posterior elements are equally involved. 
Inter vertebral discs are spared. 
No abnormal T2 hyperintensity on STIR to suggest any marrow odema.

The lab findings of long standing megaloblastic anemia with diffuse low marrow signal on T1 supports hyperplastic marrow on MR imaging.

The similar signal abnormality involving clivus again goes in favour of a benign reconversion process rather than a more serious neoplastic marrow infiltrative or proliferative disorders.
Hyperplastic marrow is a hemopoetic marrow.
Hyperplasia also called marrow reconversion, from fatty to hemopoetic marrow.

Normal physiology is, in the neonate, all is hematopoietic marrow. Normal conversion from red (hematopoietic - T1 low) to yellow (fatty - T1 bright) marrow begins few weeks after birth, a gradual and progressive process, involving distal ends of distal most long bones first, exend towards axial skeletal. The adult pattern of bone marrow attained by approximately 25 year, where hemopoetic marrow is confined to only the axial skeleton (pelvis, vertebrae, sternum, ribs, and skull) and the proximal shafts of the femora and humeri while the remainder of the skeleton show fatty marrow.
The location and extent of the relative amounts of hematopoietic and fatty marrow depends primarily on age and the bone.
In marrow hyperplasia or reconversion, this hemopoetic marrow is increased. The numerous disease processes cause this “reconversion” , chronic anaemia is common and important cause.

Apart from hyperplastic marrow other differential diagnosis for such diffuse low marrow signal intensity on T1 and T2 MRI is fluorosis, myelofibrosis, mastocytosis, lymphoma, osteopetrosis, osteoblastic metastasis, and Paget’s disease.

Bone Marrow MR Imaging

MRI is ideal for bone marrow screening because of its high-resolution images with great soft-tissue contrast. Protocol for screening of bone marrow should must include FSE T1 and STIR and if possible FSE T2.

FSE T1w : A routine T1-weighted image without fat suppression is one of the most important sequences for distinguishing between normal and abnormal marrow.  Normal bone marrow is composed of both fatty and hematopoietic elements. Although fatty marrow contains more fat cells than hematopoietic marrow, both types of marrow appear hyperintense relative to skeletal muscle on T1-weighted imaging because they contain a higher proportion of fat cells relative to skeletal muscle. Abnormal marrow is iso - hypointense to skeletal muscle on T1-weighted imaging because the replacement of fatty marrow elements by the pathologic process causes loss of the normal fat signal.

STIR: are extremely sensitive for detecting fluid and so areas with bone marrow oedema appear as hyperintense relative to the background of normal signal suppressed fatty marrow.

FSE T2w: Not primarily used for assessing bone marrow abnormality because both fat and fluid appear bright on T2w sequence. Thus, a pathologic marrow lesion could potentially be overlooked against the background of normal bright fatty marrow.  Use of T2 is confined to evaluation of an associated neural element compression.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Mesial Temporal Sclerosis MRI

A 23 yo male came for MRI Epilepsy screening.

Oblique coronal T1w SPGR and T2w used for medial temporal lobes.
Coronal T1w SPGR used for comparison of size and T2w images for signal abnormality.

 Subjective evaluation of size and signal of hippocampi show right hippocampus is smaller in volume compared to left implies to atrophy with abnormal T2  hyper intensity.

Hippocampal sclerosis (Mesial temporal Sclerosis - MTS) needs consideraton with clinical and EEG correlation.

Related Posts: Mesial Temporal (Hippocampal) Sclerosis

Mesial temporal sclerosis 

Syn : MTS, hippocampal sclerosis (HS), Ammon horn sclerosis.
A seizure associated neuronal loss and gliosis in hippocampus.

CT is typically normal as is insensitive to MTS. MRI is investigation of choice.
Hippocampal atrophy with abnormal T2 hyperintenssity is a diagnostic clue.
Atrophy of fornix mamillary body, enlarged ipsilateral temporal horn of lateral ventricle, loss of hippocampal head digitations, atrophy of white matter in parahippocampal gyrus, increased T2 signal in anterior temporal white matter may be the additional associated findings.

In Mesial temporal lobe, Hippocampus is most commonly involved followed by amygdala > fornix > mamillary bodies. Involvement is bilateral in 20% of cases.

Etiology is controversial, may be acquired or developmental. Likely that MTS represents a common outcome of both acquired and developmental processes. Acquired causes related to changes after prolonged febrile seizures, status epilepticus, complicated delivery and ischemia.Familial cases of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy have been reported.

Microscopic features are decrease in hippocampal neurons and gliosis.
Chronic astrogliosis with a fine fibrillary background containing bland nuclei of astrocytes and few remaining neurons.
CA1, CA4, and CA3 are most affected. May involve entire cornu ammonis and dentate gyrus.

Dual pathology occurs in 15% of cases of MTS . Cortical dysplasia is most common dual pathology.

Clinical presentation: Complex partial seizure is the most common signs/symptoms, may progress to tonic-clonic seizures. Disease of childhood, young adults with no gender predominance.

EEG often helpful for lesion localization in 60-90%.

Medical treatment successful in only 25%.
Anterior temporal lobe resection for medically intractable disease.
Anterior temporal lobectomy successful in 70-95% patients with MR findings of MTS
If MR is normal, success of anterior temporal lobectomy is 40-55%
If amygdala involved, decreased success of surgery,approximately 50%
Resection includes anterior temporal lobe, majority of hippocampus, variable portions of amygdala.

Reference : Diagnostic imaging Osborn.

Sequel of CNS Rickettsia MRI Brain

A 14 yo female pt came for follow up imaging.
Here is her MRI Brain T2w image.
MRI Brain shows:
T2 hyperintense lacunes in bilateral thalami.
Rest of the brain parenchyma unremarkable. 

Previous history was significant.
History of hospital admission 5years back, for fever, headache and altered sensorium.

Lab reports mentions 
Weil felix : positive
Anti Ox 19 nil
Anti Ox 2  1:16
Anti Ox k  1:40

Csf pro 48 mg %
Sugar 75mg%
Cells 8 per mm3
Chlorides 119 mcf per L

Imaging wise: Bilateral thalamic chronic lacunes, considering lab reports appears to be the sequel of previous Rikettisial infection and represent vasculitis induced changes and ischemia due to small vessel involvement.

Vertebral Osteomyelitis MRI

MRI Cervical spine Sagittal T1 and Post contrast T1
This MRI Cervical spine shows:
Multiple and contiguous involvement of cervical vertebrae (C2 to C6); vertebral bodies as well as there posterior elements show diffuse low marrow signal on T1 due to abnormal replacement of normal T1 bright fatty marrow.
An associated anterior epidural soft tissue extending from C2-3 to C7-D1 disc levels causing bony canal stenosis and cord compression. Encasement of exiting nerve roots in neural foramen.
The epidural soft tissue is in continuity with pre vertebral space, pre vertebral soft tissue extending from C1-2 to C7-D1 level with erosions of adjacent anterior surfaces of vertebral bodies.
Areas of abnormal marrow signals, the anterior epidural and pre vertebral soft tissue show homogeneous enhancement on post contrast T1.
Intervening inter vertebral discs are relatively spared.
Loss of normal cervical lordosis.

Imaging wise : Vertebral Osteomyelitis with an associated anterior epidural and prevertebral Abscess. 

ICA bifurcation aneurysm

CT and MRI Brain with MR Angio
Non contrast CT Brain
MRI Brain Axial FLAIR
MR Angio Non contrast 3 D TOF
This non contrast CT study of brain shows hyper dense subarachnoid bleed in basal cisterns, sylvian fissures and bilateral hemispheric cortical sulci which is hyper intense on axial FLAIR Brain.
An associated mild to moderate hydrocephalus.
Non contrast 3 D TOF MR Angiogram of brain shows an Aneurysmal out pouching from right ICA at its bifurcation.

Internal carotid artery (ICA) bifurcation aneurysms are uncommon, little is known about its incidence, anatomical characteristics and results of endovascular treatment.
Equally distributed to the right and left side. When present on either side called Mirror aneurysms.

Lacunar infarct MRI

Clinically : 1 day history of right side weakness.
This MRI Brain diffusion show a recent lacunar infarct with restricted diffusion in the region of posterior limb of left internal capsule.


Lacunar infarcts are caused by small vessel occlusion (a single deep penetrating artery).

Occur in the deep grey nuclei of the brain (37% putamen, 14% thalamus, and 10% caudate) as well as the pons (16%) or the posterior limb of the internal capsule (10%).
Less commonly in the deep cerebral white matter, the anterior limb of the internal capsule, and the cerebellum.

The two proposed mechanisms are microatheroma and lipohyalinosis. Advanced age, chronic hypertension, smoking, diabetes mellitus elevated cholesterol, or history of prior stroke are the risk factors.

When no evidence of small vessel disease, an embolic cause is assumed from major artery or heart.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Intracerebral Hematoma Late Subacute Stage

MRI brain

Axial T2 image show a hyperintense area in the left temporal lobe white matter.
Absence of perilesional odema on FLAIR.
The same is hyperintense on the T1w images.
This is an intra parenchymal bleed.
Cause of bleed is thrombosed dural venous sinuses.

The hyperintense signal on T1 as well as T2 weighted MRI is characteristic of extracellular meth hemoglobin - a sub acute stage blood degradation product.
Absence of perilesional odema on FLAIR - goes in favour of Late Sub acute stage bleed (7-14 Days)

Monday 21 November 2011

Intracranial lipoma

MRI Brain Axial T1, T2 and FLAIR. 
This MRI study of brain shows:
A focal extra axial fat in the groove between Pons and right cerebellar hemisphere, follow same signal as that of sub cutaneous fat on MRI, hyper intense on T1 as well as T2w and FLAIR images.
T1 bright tissue or lesions are very few for example fat and Meth Hb ' a sub acute stage blood degradation product'.
In such situation low 'fat' density on CT is very definitive of Lipoma.

Intracranial lipoma 

Syn : Lipomatous hamartomas, as normally fat not present in CNS.
A congenital malformation , not true neoplasm.
Contributes < 0.5% of all intracranial tumors.
A focal fat density (dark 'z' black) on CT or fat signal intensity (white on T1w image) and is often out standing in the background of adjacent normal grayish brain parenchyma.
Noted as an isolated incidental finding or as part of an associated anomalies. Most common anomaly associated is Corpus callosal agenesis or dysgenesis.

Most common location is supra tentorium ~80%. In that most common location is mid line along corpus callosum ~ 50%, Suprasellar cistern attached to infundibulum, hypothalamus ~ 20%,  Pineal region ~15%. Meckel's cave and lateral fissures are rare locations.
Infra tentorium contributes remaining 20%, in that common locations are Cp angles, jugular foramen and foramen magnum.

Two types of intracranial lipoma:
1. Curvilinear type is a thin stripe along CC.
2. Tubulonodular type is a bulky nodular mass, frequently show dense nodular calcifications, and often associated with Corpus callosal or adjacent parenchymal anomalies.

Related posts:
Lipoma along Trigeminal nerve
Lipoma at incisura
Lipoma along normal Corpus callosum
Lipoma with Corpus callosal malformation

Reference : Anne G Osborn 

Wide central sulcus

This CT study of Brain, cranial most 'high parietal' sections showing a wedge shaped area of low attenuation in left parietal region with Csf density, is an isolated widening of left side central sulcus appears to be a part of left parietal lobe atrophy.
Not to be mistaken for cystic Encephalomalacia as it is lined by normal cortical gyri with normal gray wihte matter interphase.
An associated severe changes of small vessel disease noted. 

Cystic Encephalomalacia MRI

- Definition : An area of abnormal attenuation or signal with septations and cavitations. Density of the area or signal intensity is same as that of csf with septations and cavitations which are better seen on MR than CT.
- Histopathologically characterised by destruction of brain parenchyma, presence of multiple glial septations surrounded by astrocytic proliferation.
- Etiology can be any severe insult like infarction, infection or trauma.
Involvement may be focal or diffuse, depending upon etiology and severity of involvement.
- Cause of the injury can be presumed imaging wise depending upon the area of involvement. Encephalomalacia secondary to arterial infarction will be wedge shaped and confined to particular vascular territory. Encephalomalacia secondary to hemorrhagic venous infarcts commonly involve and temporal and parietal lobes. Hypotension and hypovolumia will affect cortical border zones. Trauma commonly involves orbital surface of frontal lobes and temporal poles.
- But sometimes imagingwise it becomes difficult to comment about its cause, in such cases review of previous history or CT,MRI report is very useful.

Giant Arachnoid granulation

CT Brain with MR Brain and MR Venogram of Brain
Axial non contrast CT Brain
MRI Brain Axial FLAIR, T2 and T1
Non contrast 2D TOF MR Venogram of Brain
These CT and MR images of Brain shows a nodular lesion iso dense on CT, T2 hyper intense on MRI, hypo intense on FLAIR due to complete signal suppression.
A filling defect noted on MR venogram in right lateral sinus in corresponding region.
This is a Gaint Arachnoid Granulation, to be mentioned as an incidental finding.


Normal drainage of CSF occurs from subarachnoid space into venous system via microscopic Arachnoid villi, measure a few millimetres, are growths of arachnoid membrane into the dural sinuses. When these villi are distended and visible to the naked eye are termed as Giant Arachnoid granulations, are noted and passed off as an incidental finding.

Occur anywhere along course of dural venous sinus but more common in transverse sinus near sigmoid sulcus. Seen as round to ovoid filling defect in the region of sinus, On CT isodense to csf and on MR isointense to csf on all pulse sequence.

Differential diagnosis includes thrombosed sinus. Thrombus or clot in the sinus is linear and along the course sinus, does not follow same sequences as that of csf on all pulse sequences.

Although noted as an incidental finding, giant arachnoid granulations can be a rare cause of sinus obstruction resulting in venous hypertension. Dural sinus pressure measurement, normal pressure and absence of pressure gradient across the lesion are used to exclude the lesion as the cause of the patient’s symptoms.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Calcified Granuloma CT vs MRI Brain

Calcified Granuloma is a healed tubercular or cysticeroid lesion in brain showing dystrophic calcification.

*  In Neuroradiology, CT is most sensitive and specific as far as calcification in any lesion is concerned let it be infective or neoplastic. Calcification on MRI has variable appearance depending on density of calcification and sequence. A faint calcification in a lesion if any may not be seen on MRI. A dense calcified nodular Granuloma if at all seen on MRI, is seen as punctuate low signal intensity on T2*GRE and T2w images. However MRI can confuse a calcified Granuloma with micro bleed or a petechial bleed which are also seen as punctate low signal intensity due to hemsiderin staining. So sensitivity as well as specificity of MRI debatable as far as calcification if concerned, let it be SWS (Susceptibility Weighted Sequence). In such situation it is better to run few thin axial CT sections to confirm the Granuloma.

*  Role MRI in case of calcified granuloma is whether the lesion is active or not, by depiction of perilesional odema or contrast enhancement if any which may not seen on CT. On CT the calcified granuloma is dense white as well as enhancement also appear white so if at all the lesion is active, any enhancement is there, it will not be seen in the dense white back ground of Granuloma on CT.

*  While evaluation of size again discrepancy is seen between CT and MRI. CT considered to be more accurate. In MRI discrepancy is seen among its different sequences itself due to over as well as underestimation of calcification.

A Case:

A dense nodular calcified Granuloma in right superior frontal gyrus on CT measures 3mm, no perilesional odema.
MRI show a punctuate low signal intensity on T2w images and faint low signal intensity on T2*GRE. An obvious discrepancy is seen in size of the lesion between CT and MRI, even among different sequences of MRI it self. Lesion is not very obvious on T1 and FLAIR.
There is no perilesional odema on FLAIR.

  1. Among CT and MRI no one is superior or perfect ; both have some advantages and limitations.
  2. CT is more sensitive to pick the lesion, where MR may miss lesion if the lesion is small or calcification is faint.
  3. MRI is more sensitive than CT to evaluate activity of lesion by demonstrating perilesional odema and enhancement.
  4. For evaluation of size of calcified Granuloma, CT appears to be more reliable than MRI.
A foot note : Please even if u are dealing with any normal MRI brain study always review previous CT brain images of the patient particulary if patient comes for evaluation of seizures disorder.

Vascular loop syndrome

A 55 yo male with right side trigeminal neuralgia as episodic lancinating pain.

MRI 3D FIESTA axial images at the level of posterior fossa show tortuous vertebro basilar causing compression over right side trigeminal nerve.

Vascular loop syndrome -  5th CN compression, Trigeminal Neuralgia. 

Vascular loop syndrome
Abnormal anatomical variation or course of vessel causing symptomatic compression over cranial nerves at CP Angle and IAC cistern.
Spasmodic hyperfunction of nerve due to compression.
Compression of 5th CN (Trigeminal nerve) present with trigemina neuralgia and 7th (Facial nerve) present with hemi facial spasm.
Trigeminal nerve involvement due to vascular loop is more common than Facial nerve.
'Kindling' theory : Pulsatile vessel coming in contact with nerve induces ectopic excitations which travel retrogradly back to the nucleus of nerve.
Routine T2w images used for brain may be insufficient.
High index of suspicion with high resolution T2 sections in the region of posterior fossa are must.
Age of presentation is older age group after 65, though it's anatomical variation or abnormality.

Related Post : Vascular loop syndrome - 7th CN compression, Hemifacial spasm

Acom Aneurysm

Non contrast CT brain shows Hyper dense sub arachnoid bleed in basal cisterns.

Non contrast 3D TOF MR Angiogram of Brain shows an Acom aneurysm.

Further reading: 


A 19 yo male, history of hospital admission since 2weeks for headache and generalized weakness, diagnosed and treated as viral illness. CT brain normal. Csf shows raised wbc count and protein. 
Now brought to us with altered sensorium and recent onset bilateral lower limb weakness. 
On admission MRI Brain and spine for cord:

In Brain, bilateral asymmetric multifocal T2 hyperintensities in cerebral as well as cerebellar white matter.
In spine, spinal cord show multisegemental contiguous T2 hyper intensity involving upper dorsal cord extending from C6-7 to D3-4 with focal cord swelling.

Imagingwise : Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)

Differential dignosis:
Multiple sclerosis: Lesions are relatively smaller, involves sub cortical white matter, commonly involves posterior fossa. Lesions are more symmetric. Relapsing and remetting course.
Auto immune mediated vasculitis.

ADEM is a auto immune mediated demyelination.
Age group affected is children more than adults. More common in males than female.
Variable symptoms ranging from headache fever drowsiness, CN palsy, hemi paresis, loss of consciousness and behavior changes.
5 to 15years after specific - non specific viral illness or vaccination.
Csf show leukocytosis and raised proteins, absent oligoclonal bands.
Natural histroy of disease is  usually monophasic self limitted with variable prognosis ranging from complete recovery in few weeks to a mortality of approximately 25%. Relapses are rare.

Hypoplastic Superior sagittal sinus

Non contrast 2 D TOF MR Venogram:
Anterior portion of the SSS is hypoplastic, replaced by bilateral longitudinal frontal cortical veins which ultimately ending into rest of the superior sagittal sinus – a relatively uncommon anatomical variation, should not to be mistaken for thrombosis.
Note an associated hypoplastic left transverse sigmoid sinus.